Monday, October 27, 2008

...the very economy of expression that digital technology has made obsolete

Some of the diaristic entries in Leonardo Da Vinci's codices speak of his financial struggles, and define lack of money as the inability to afford the paper that was so precious to him. Always trying to follow in the footsteps of the Great Masters, I too recently managed to put myself in the position to not be able to afford this commodity.

I was in Venice, and struggling to think of a good present for Justine, who had instructed me not to purchase jewellery. So I thought, hey, I'll buy her a nice glass pen in Murano and then some local paper, one of the city's historic crafts. The pen was quickly located and cheaply bought. I moved on to a stationer's, planning to splash out on a nice folder and twenty or so loose leafs for her sketches. I was on holiday, after all, and it pays at such times to loosen one's otherwise fierce grip on the purse strings.

Well, friends, it turns out that the cheapest, not horrid folder - a cardboard number with some red stencilling - would have set me back 75 euros, and that the cotton-based paper (the only decent kind, incidentally) was priced at 4 euro per page, that is to say 80 for the lot. At 300 New Zealand dollars-plus, the idea was quickly abandoned and the genius of Leonardo - always so ahead of his time! - once more silently acknowledged.

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